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Kickstarting a New Era for Local News in Manchester

by uma

The Public Interest News Foundation (PINF), NewsNow, the UK’s independent news discovery platform, and Open Data Manchester are delighted to be hosting a workshop in Manchester to support a new era in local news on the 14th November.

This follows successful events in Glasgow and Folkestone.

At a time when many local papers have closed, consolidated or cut back their services, leaving a troubling deficit in local democracy, PINF and NewsNow are setting out to support communities in solving the problem for themselves.

Jonathan Heawood, Executive Director of PINF, said: “I’m thrilled to be hosting our third workshop in Manchester. Local news in the UK is in a state of turmoil. Legacy newspaper publishers are under huge pressure, and emerging providers are struggling to compete for attention with social media. By working in these very different locations across the UK, we aim to support a new era in local news that truly serves communities.”

Locals from a variety of backgrounds, including business leaders, civil society organisations, funders and people with lived experience, will come together to discuss a shared vision and create a Local News Plan for the future of public interest news in their communities.

Open Data Manchester, an organisation for people who are interested in realising the potential of open data to benefit citizens, business and public bodies in Greater Manchester, is joining PINF and NewsNow to run this workshop.

In total, PINF is hosting six Local News Plan workshops this autumn in Folkestone, Glasgow, Bristol, Newry, Manchester and Bangor (Wales). The six resulting Plans will be hosted on a dedicated website, and lessons from the project will be shared with policymakers and philanthropists.

Struan Bartlett, CEO of NewsNow, said: “We are delighted to be working with PINF on this important project. We know a healthy society needs a healthy news diet, yet when it comes to local news it sometimes feels like we’re on starvation rations. Sustainably funded public interest journalism is vital for healthy local democracies. Rather than parachuting in money or solutions, we believe that by getting people on the ground to talk to each other, communities can work out for themselves what they want from local news and how best to incentivise and support local providers to deliver it.”

PINF and NewsNow expect an outcome of the project to be a Local News Plan template that can be replicated and adapted to other localities, building support for public interest news from local funders and philanthropists, investors, business communities and policymakers; and increasing the prospects for sustainability for public interest news providers across the UK.

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